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Man Overboard During The Volvo Ocean Race

Leg 4, Melbourne to Hong Kong. Luke Parkinson on the wheel with John Fisher and Grant Wharinton on board Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag.

Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag had a hairy moment on Sunday (14 January) when they had to deal with a  man overboard situation.

Crew member Alex Gough was washed overboard by a wave during a sail change  on Sunday afternoon, in winds of 15-20 knots.

The team swung into recovery mode, and Gough was back on board within just seven minutes, unharmed. Scallywag resumed racing immediately.

“He went out on the outrigger, I was driving, and we went off a big sea and it picked him up threw him off, like a horse,” skipper David Witt said.

“The main thing is, we got him back on board. He’s safe. But I think it’s shown everyone how hard it is to see the guy in the water. Even on a sunny day, 18 knots of wind… You wouldn’t want to be doing this in 20 knots in the dark.”

Alex Gough wasn’t wearing a harness or a lifejacket when he fell into the water.

“I was pretty stupid, but luckily the guys were on to it. They turned around bloody quickly,” Gough said. “I’m good. I’m fine. It was a bit scary… But off we go again.”

Witt says he should have been had tied to a line or have told the helmsman what he was doing, before he went outside the lifelines on the outrigger.

The incident lost Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag a few miles , but they managed to retain the lead.

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